Image: Braeburn Pharmaceuticals The US Food and Drug Administration has approved Probuphine, the first implantable drug for the treatment of opioid dependence.Unlike pills or films, these implants can t get lost, forgotten, or stolen, so the drug can t be abused or resold on the street.We must do everything we can to make new, innovative treatment options available that can help patients regain control over their lives, said FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf in a statement.The number of unintentional overdose deaths from prescription pain relievers has quadrupled since 1999.According to the CDC, deaths from opioid overdoses reached a record 28,647 in 2014.As Judith Kramer of Duke University noted in the Washington Post, some trial participants still needed supplemental buprenorphine for relief, which to her suggested that the implant dose was too low.
The first of its kind, Probuphine may be a game-changer for an increasingly prevalent — and difficult to address — problem within the United States.The implant method consists of four, inch-long rods inserted under the skin of the arm, and would provide treatment for six months.And because patients don t have to remember to take this medication or worry about losing it, the implants may prove a more reliable potential solution to addiction.Still, the FDA notes, the drug alone is insufficient to fully address the problem.The administration is also still looking into multiple treatments with the implants currently, only one additional course has been approved for use in the opposite arm after the first six-month period .We must do everything we can to make new, innovative treatment options available that can help patients regain control over their lives, said FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D.
Of all the applications of 3D printing, the one which seems most astonishing is the possibility of one day being able to use the technology to print out vital biological organs.But while we re not at that point just yet, a team of researchers at the U.K. s University of Bristol recently announced a significant new advance in the form of a brand new bio-ink, a printable liquid material made out of living cells.In time it is hoped that this new bio-ink may be used for the 3D printing of cartilage and bone implants for damaged body parts such as joints.The second natural polymer, extracted from seaweed, then provides the structural fidelity needed to sustain cell nutrients.If talk of naturally-occurring polymers and phase behavior is a bit much to absorb on a Monday, consider that one of the big challenges with bioprinting is allowing effective nutrient access for the stem cells used in the bio-ink — thereby creating a material which can be used to print a living structure.The results have already been used to 3D print tissue structures such as a full-size tracheal cartilage ring.
MoreThis photo provided by Abbott Laboratories shows the company's Absorb stent.The new stent is designed to dissolve over three years.Abbott Laboratories' newly-approved Absorb stent comes with one important caveat: it hasn't yet been shown to be safer than older metal implants.The Food and Drug Administration approved the device Tuesday for patients with coronary artery disease, the artery-narrowing condition that causes about 370,000 U.S. deaths each year, according to government figures.Experts describe Abbott's device as an important step in finding a better approach to treating the leading cause of death in the U.S."This is presumably a better technology going forward, at least that's the theory, but it will take years to prove," said Dr. George Vetrovec, professor emeritus at Virginia Commonwealth University.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced a project with the U.S. Army Research Office to develop tissue-integrated biosensor technology.Profusa, a San Francisco company, was awarded a $7.5 million grant from DARPA to lead the development.The U.S. military is interested in developing the technology to aid in real-time monitoring of combat soldier health vitals.Profusa chairman and CEO Ben Hwang said, Profusa s vision is to replace a point-in-time chemistry panel that measures multiple biomarkers, such as oxygen, glucose, lactate, urea, and ions with a biosensor that provides a continuous stream of wireless data, The U.S. military hopes that this technology will improve mission efficiency and provide real-time information that allows soldiers to quickly address health issues that may affect the mission.Profusa s bioengineering approach to an implantable biosensor allegedly overcomes the body s natural reaction to reject foreign material.
LONDON -- One of Google's sister companies will team up with pharmaceuticals firm GlaxoSmithKline to develop tiny implants that can tap nerves and change their electronic signals as a way of treating chronic illnesses.GSK and Verily Life Sciences, a subsidiary of Google parent company Alphabet, have agreed to create a new company known as Galvani Bioelectronics, which will be based in Britain, with a second research hub in South San Francisco, California.They said Monday that they will invest 540 million pounds $714 million , with GSK owning 55 percent of the venture and Verily the rest.In the growing field of bioelectronic medicine, the implants that are used to cuff a nerve are currently the size of a jelly bean.The aim is to make them as small as a grain of rice.GSK brings medical knowledge to the table.
Tiny implantable sensors that could be used to internally monitor the body without the need of wires have been created by engineers in the US.The devices, created by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, could potentially treat disorders such as epilepsy or bladder control and in the future, control prosthetics.The sensors, around one millimetre in size and named neural dust, may also be used to monitor organs in real-time, as well as being using to stimulate nerves and muscles.Ultrasound is used to both power the device and read out the measurements."I think the long-term prospects for neural dust are not only within nerves and the brain, but much broader," said Michel Maharbiz, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences and one of the study's two main authors in the journal Neuron."Having access to in-body telemetry has never been possible because there has been no way to put something supertiny superdeep.
Oh graphene, you wonderful, miracle substance.The one atom-thick latticed carbon material has been proposed as a way of revolutionizing everything from upload speeds to sports equipment.And if we could find a way to implant the stuff, well, clearly we d all become an unstoppable army of Robocops – or at the very least, we d get better at monitoring our insides and delivering drugs to the right spots.Bionics have long been toward the top of the list of potential life-changing graphene applications, but actually getting the substance to play nice with our sensitive human tissue is another issue entirely.The primary problem is heat.Delivering power to the rigid material causes it to get hot, frying the surrounding soft tissue in the process.
More than a decade ago, Magnus was diagnosed with a tumour and had his right arm amputated.Following a novel prosthetics surgery in 2013 that integrated electrodes to his own nerves and muscle, and anchored the new arm directly to his bone, the Swede can operate machinery in his day job as a truck driver, tie his children s shoelaces, unpack eggs and now compete for Sweden in the first cyborg Olympics .Magnus was the first recipient of a prosthetic implanted directly to the body using a technique called osseointegration, devised by associate professor Rickard Brånemark and colleagues at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, and powered using technology trialled by Max Ortiz Catalan and colleagues at Chalmers University of Technology.Today, he explains: This is a completely new research field in which we have managed to directly connect the artificial limb to the skeleton, nerves and muscles.In addition, we are including direct neural sensory feedback in the prosthetic arm so the patient can intuitively feel with it.This ability to feel , through different degrees of pressure, is how Magnus can grip objects so carefully with the prosthetic hand.
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC have developed a system that s enabling a man with quadriplegia to experience the sensation of touch through a robotic arm that he controls with his brain.I can feel just about every finger—it s a really weird sensation.Prosthetic limbs are getting better all the time, but they re still not able to convey the sense of touch to the user.Without it, we wouldn t be able to tell the difference between a piece of cake or the fork we use to take a bite out of it.A research team led by Robert A. Gaunt from the University of Pittsburgh is the first to develop a system that overcomes this limitation, allowing a paralysed 28-year-old man to feel objects through a robotic limb.To make it work, the researchers implanted tiny microelectrode arrays—each about the size of a shirt button—into the primary somatosensory cortex of the patient s brain—the part of the brain that receives all sensory input from the body.
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC have developed a system that s enabling a man with quadriplegia to experience the sensation of touch through a robotic arm that he controls with his brain.I can feel just about every finger—it s a really weird sensation.Prosthetic limbs are getting better all the time, but they re still not able to convey the sense of touch to the user.Without it, we wouldn t be able to tell the difference between a piece of cake or the fork we use to take a bite out of it.A research team led by Robert A. Gaunt from the University of Pittsburgh is the first to develop a system that overcomes this limitation, allowing a paralysed 28-year-old man to feel objects through a robotic limb.To make it work, the researchers implanted tiny microelectrode arrays—each about the size of a shirt button—into the primary somatosensory cortex of the patient s brain—the part of the brain that receives all sensory input from the body.
There is an ongoing legal dispute taking place between St. Jude Medical Inc. and several companies and individuals over specific cardiac implants that are monitored by the Merlin.net Patient Care Network PCN .The latest chapter in the ongoing battle appeared on Monday in a legal brief stating that cyber security experts hired by one of the defendants, Muddy Waters, have validated vulnerabilities in St. Jude s monitoring service.The provided [email protected] transmitter sits by the bedside and monitors the patient s implant while they sleep, sending the information over a telephone, cellular, or broadband connection.However, hackers can reportedly gain access to these [email protected] devices and potentially kill the connected patient.St. Jude Medical says that is not possible, and filed a lawsuit against Muddy Waters, cyber research firm MedSec Holdings, Dr. Hemal M. Nayak, and Carson C. Block on September 7.In addition to disputing St. Jude Medical s stock-related claim, the brief includes an attached 53-page report provided by cyber security firm Bishop Fox detailing how hackers can gain access to [email protected] monitoring devices and kill patients by sending shocks or turning off specific functions.
A paralysed woman, who is "almost completely locked in," has become the first person to use a fully implanted brain-computer interface at home in day-to-day life without constant doctor supervision.The research paper is published this month in the New England Journal of Medicine.The patient, who is 58 years old and wishes to remain anonymous, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis ALS in 2008.Within a couple of years, ALS usually causes complete paralysis.In this case the patient still has control of her eyes, but that's about it.An ECoG is very similar to an EEG, only the electrical sensors are placed inside your skull against your brain, rather than externally on your scalp.
This is all you need to illicitly reprogram implantable medical devices, according to researchers from the University of Leuven and University Hospital Gasthuisberg Leuven in Belgium, and the University of Birmingham in England: On the left is a universal serial radio peripheral, and on the right a data acquisition system.It's possible to transmit life-threatening signals to implanted medical devices with no prior knowledge of how the devices work, researchers in Belgium and the U.K. have demonstrated.By intercepting and reverse-engineering the signals exchanged between a heart pacemaker-defibrillator and its programmer, the researchers found they could steal patient information, flatten the device's battery, or send malicious messages to the pacemaker.The attacks they developed can be performed from up to five meters away using standard equipment -- but more sophisticated antennas could increase this distance by tens or hundreds of times, they said."The consequences of these attacks can be fatal for patients as these messages can contain commands to deliver a shock or to disable a therapy," the researchers wrote in a new paper examining the security of implantable cardioverter defibrillators ICDs , which monitor heart rhythm and can deliver either low-power electrical signals to the heart, like a pacemaker, or stronger ones, like a defibrillator, to shock the heart back to a normal rhythm.Their findings add to the evidence of severe security failings in programmable and connected medical devices such as ICDs.
Those suffering from retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited form of blindness, have been given a glimmer of hope by the UK's National Health Service.A successful trial now means that NHS England will carry out procedures to implant "bionic eyes" into ten patients from around the UK, restoring some of their sight.Five patients from the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital and five from Moorfields Eye Hospital in London will be fitted with the Argus II retinal implant in the new year, which uses a mounted camera to capture light and send a signal to the brain.It allows the wearer to discern between light levels and, in some cases, even make out large lettering."I'm delighted that our pioneering research has provided the evidence to support NHS England's decision to fund the bionic eye for the first time in patients," said Professor Paulo Stanga from the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital."It surpassed all of our expectations when we realised that one of the retinitis pigmentosa patients in Manchester using the bionic eye could identify large letters for the first time in his adult life."
St. Jude Medical stated on January 9 that it has begun deploying security updates to its Merlin.net Patient Care Network system.Reports surfaced in late 2016 that the [email protected] transmitter used to monitor specific St. Jude Medical implanted devices could be hacked and potentially used to kill the patient.The implants in question span pacemakers Assurity and Endurity and Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators Ellipse and Fortify Assura .Instead, they can be accessed through the [email protected] monitor or in-office medical diagnostic equipment.The underlying problem is that the [email protected] device does connect to the internet.More: Hackers can use heart-rate monitors to send jolts to cardiac implants, experts say
Researchers are finding new ways to make sure your body doesn't reject implants, and a material that repels blood may be one answer.If you have a medical implant put into your body, you want it to be compatible with blood so as to cause the minimum of possible complications, right?A research project coming out of Colorado State University is suggesting a different, less conventional approach: A new type of superhemophobic titanium surface that s so repellent to blood that, in theory, your body won t even realize an implant is there.Researchers have been working to try and make implants that blood likes enough to be compatible, Arun Kota, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering, told Digital Trends.We wanted to do the opposite: To make it so that implants are so repellent to blood that blood can t even contact its surface to make it wet.In a sense, we re tricking blood into thinking there s nothing there at all.
In less than a decade, taking medication may be as easy as running a magnet over your skin.In five years time, a magnetic implant may deliver your personalized dose of medication.The device has been developed by researchers from the University of British Columbia UBC and could help ease treatments for patients required to take many pills or undergo regular intravenous injections.At just six millimeters in diameter, the device is made of a silicone sponge and magnetic carbonyl iron particles encased in a round polymer.It s designed to fit just under a patient s skin.When activated by a magnet passed over the outside of the skin, the sponge deforms and its drug contents are dispersed through a small opening in the polymer casing.
In what could potentially serve as a important moment in the quest to 3D print body parts, a team of scientists from Sweden’s Sahlgrenska Academy and Chalmers University of Technology have managed to successfully implant human cartilage cells in six-week-old baby mice.The researchers created a gel composed of human cartilage cells, printed it through a Cellink 3D bioprinter and implanted the material inside the naked lab mice.Once implanted, the tissue began to grow and proliferate inside of the animal, eventually vascularizing, with blood vessels growing inside the implanted material.After two months, the material began to more closely resemble human cartilage, which was further stimulated with the addition of stem cells.The team worked with local plastic surgeons to implant the material, which could one day be used to create a more natural implants for patients who have lost ears, noses or knees due to accidents or diseases like cancer.“There is no solution for missing ears,” research lead professor Paul Gatenholm tells TechCrunch.
The company offers to implant its workers and startup members with microchips the size of grains of rice that function as swipe cards: to open doors, operate printers, or buy smoothies with a wave of the hand."The biggest benefit I think is convenience," said Patrick Mesterton, co-founder and CEO of Epicenter.Companies use them to track deliveries.Epicenter and a handful of other companies are the first to make chip implants broadly available.And as with most new technologies, it raises security and privacy issues.While biologically safe, the data generated by the chips can show how often an employee comes to work or what they buy.
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